Kelly's Reviews > Les Fleurs du Mal

Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire
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's review
Jan 18, 2008

really liked it
Recommended to Kelly by: My European history teacher
Recommended for: Francophiles and poetry lovers

After reading Baudelaire, I suddenly find myself wanting to smoke cigarettes and say very cynical things while donning a trendy haircut. Plus, if I didn't read Baudelaire, how could I possibly carry on conversations with pretentious art students?

In all seriousness, though, I wish my French was better, so that I could read it in its intended language. I'm sure it looses something in the translation... but it's still great stuff nonetheless.

And with a title like "Flowers of Evil," how can you go wrong?
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Reading Progress

01/30 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10)

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Cciccolella i have not read him for some time but he does do that to me. i like his dark side. he is the father of the surrelist movement. i love his students rimbaud, paz and the others that were influenced by him. and you are right the translation must get so lost. i would love to learn french

message 9: by Tra-Kay (new) - added it

Tra-Kay Oh.

I was mentally translating it as, "The Rotty Flowers."

Charley Yes, there is a ridiculous amount of asceticism lost in translation... I have a disdain for translated non-free verse poetry.

I recall in one translation they actually used the word "stuff" to rhyme with "enough..." I died laughing. Like Baudelaire would really ever intend to write "stuff."

I'm not fully fluent in French but was enough to read this with the aid of a dictionary and it was well worth it.

Geraud I love that review !
well baudelaire doesn't make ME want to smaoke cigarettes but he does make me desire dirty things and get lost in one of those orientalist 19e century paintings full of jewelry and lust.

Olivier Maybe uneven, but with sparks of genius all along

Rainbowgirl "Fleurs du mal" can have many meanings, to me "mal" here has mostly the sense of "disease".

Bigpoppa Yes I agree with rainbowhirl, "mal" is used for both it's meanings, disease/sickness and evil. I really recommend that you read it in french though you would have to really perfect it as even for a native speaker the vocabulary is quite unique.

Coleen--Marie Hanson I've only ever read it in French, so I don't know how it fares in translation, but as much as I love Baudelaire, I prefer Rimbaud and Verlaine.

message 2: by Nef (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nef Apps Kelly, I'm not certain but I believe the correct tense of your French would be were not was and I lack any French language skill thus agree wholeheartedly with the review. Did you read the Richard Howard translation?

message 1: by Bill (new)

Bill looses....

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